LOWELL COOPER: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to San Antonio. For those relying on simultaneous translation services, I have one important announcement to make. Delegates have received in their delegate packet at registration time an FM transceiver, and you received in your delegate package also a list of the languages that will be provided through the translation services. The Indonesian language has been added to the simultaneous translations.
We’ve come from east, west, north, and south, and have arrived at San Antonio. First of all, we thank God for your safe arrival here. And I think we will also be thankful for the security people here at the dome in the convention center and in San Antonio. They are working with us and for us.
Here at the General Conference session we have an opportunity available nowhere else to experience the rich diversity and oneness of the Seventh-day Adventist world family. We come from around the globe, from different time zones, climates, cultures, currencies, circumstances, sometimes even with differing convictions. Yet there is a deep and abiding realization that we have been called as sons and daughters of God, citizens of His kingdom, members of His family, partners in His mission. We meet here to celebrate this identity and to conduct our business in the light of His business.
We’re privileged to have many guests. In fact, at many of our meetings the number of guests may well outnumber the sum of delegates. Those who have been granted delegate status, meaning we have the right to speak and to vote in the business of the session, must see this as a special honor. To be entrusted with such a responsibility is a wonderful yet sobering duty. For we are called to think not just of ourselves, but of our brothers and sisters who were not chosen as delegates.
If we consider the ratio of world membership to the delegation at this session, we would observe that each delegate represents more than 7,200 members. Let us then seize this opportunity by being present on time at every business meeting and addressing our agenda items in the spirit described by the apostle Paul, who wrote to the Philippians, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Just for a very quick outline of the day, we meet in business session this morning. We will adjourn at lunchtime or earlier. And the division delegations, division by division, will meet this afternoon at 2:00 for the recommendation of Nominating Committee members from each division. We will reconvene in this place for a business session at 4:30 this afternoon, at which time we will receive the reports on the recommendations for Nominating Committee members and vote the membership of the Nominating Committee. Then we will meet again this evening at 7:00.
With your help this morning, we aim to conclude by noon or earlier. Our business session has several fairly routine but essential formalities. Perhaps it’s best for us to begin with a clear understanding of how to participate in the discussion of agenda items and how to use the voting devices that have been made available for the session.
But I want to make it clear that the chairpersons for the business sessions are authorized to recognize only those who have delegate status. These are the individuals who are authorized to speak and to vote in the business agenda.
If you wish to approach the microphone on a point of order, rather than a discussion on the motion that may be pending on the floor at that time, please notify the attendant when you present your badge that you wish to raise a point of order.
The attendant will then enable your name to come to the top of the list, and we will be notified here at the table that there is a delegate who wishes to raise a point of order.
Now we come to the question of voting. We have made arrangements at this session for more than one voting methodology.
Our default voting system will be the electronic voting devices that you received at the time of registration.
When a vote is called on an item, only the electronic votes will be counted. No hand signals; no voting cards. We are not combining methodologies in voting. Each delegate is fully responsible for the security of this device. Do not lend it to someone else.
When it comes to voting, you may exercise your right to abstain from voting. You are not required to vote. But if you wish to vote, when votes are counted, only yes votes and no votes will be counted. The General Conference session does not accept responsibility for anyone claiming to be denied the right to vote because the voting device was left in the hotel room, or perhaps has been lost.
Now, if you hold that device in your hand, you will notice it has no on/off switch. Please take out the device, because in a few moments we will have some practice votes.
The device is always ready to work. All you need to do is press one of the numerical buttons. When you do that, the number will show up on the screen. If you do not press that button, eventually it will go off. In these are long-term batteries, and the device will remain active throughout the session.
Now, questions have been raised about the security and the confidentiality of this voting system. To help us understand these details, we’ve asked Karnik Doukmetzian from the Office of General Counsel at the General Conference to give us some information.
KARNIK DOUKMETZIAN: We have two concerns, as we’re indicating: security, so that no one is able to tamper with the devices; and privacy, so that only you know how you voted. The electronic system that we’re going to be using for this session is provided by a third-party vendor with wide experience in conducting large voting at business meetings such as this. The technicians who are operating these systems are here with us. They are employees of that company. They are not employees of or involved with the General Conference in any way.
No one of the General Conference is involved in the voting system process. Security protocols for these voting machines are generated each and every day. They’re changed every day to ensure the security of our votes. But you must be aware that your voting machine will work only if you are on the delegate floor. The signal will not be picked up if you are sitting in the stands, so you must be seated on the delegate floor in order for the voting machine to work and for your vote to be registered.
Your vote is transmitted securely, accurately, and anonymously and in an encrypted fashion so that the vote cannot be tampered with.
Once the voting is completed, that record will be deleted. As you vote, be aware that the voting is secret and anonymous. Neither the serial number nor the electronic signal created by the devices is connected to any person’s name. We cannot identify the individual who voted. No one but you will know how you voted.
Once each vote is tabulated, the record will be deleted.
We want to take this opportunity to thank the Meridia Company for being with us and for providing this service for the General Conference session.
[Several tests proved the unavailability of the electronic voting at that time.]
LOWELL COOPER: We will not continue with this electronic voting this morning until we can proceed with another test and have some confirmation that all of the signals are being received.
So I’m going to ask if you would turn to your bag and take out the voting card.
For the balance of our business this morning we will use the voting card.
Now, agenda items for the morning are fairly routine, but they are essential formalities in bringing this session to order and receiving a registration report and dealing with the voting of new member units.
To lead us into this portion of the agenda, we will turn to our General Conference secretary, G. T. Ng.
G. T. NG: The General Conference Constitution, Article 5, Section 1, says the General Conference shall hold annual sessions at such time and place as the General Conference Executive Committee shall designate and announced by a notice published in the Adventist Review and Adventist World in three consecutive issues at least four months ahead of time.
The Adventist Review and Adventist World have indeed complied with the requirement that published the notices in the February 12, February 19, and February 26, 2015, issues of the Adventist Review and in the April, May, and June issues of the Adventist World.
Another requirement from the constitution is that we should send out letters of invitation to all delegates, and this has been duly complied with. Letters of invitation were sent out beginning in May 2014. And the registration of delegates began in August 2014.
The General Conference Constitution also outlines how delegates to the General Conference should be selected. Divisions, in consultation with their unions, prepare the list of delegates of their division with criteria found in our constitution. We certify that the distribution of the regular and at-large delegate quota to the 13 divisions of the General Conference, the two attached territories of the General Conference, and the 14 General Conference institutions, associations, and services was done in harmony with Article 5, Sections 7 and 8, of the Constitution; and further, that the session registration process is in compliance with Article 5, Section 9, of the Constitution, which states that all delegates are comprised of Seventh-day Adventists in regular standing.
And at least 50 percent of the delegates from the divisions are laypersons, pastors, teachers, and nonadministrative employees of both genders, representing a range of age groups and nationalities. And of this 50 percent, the majority of them should be laypersons.
As far as registered delegates are concerned, we have 2,566 regular and at-large delegates. And of this number, as of about an hour ago, 1,868 delegates have registered on site. And so the number exceeds the requirement of the General Conference Constitution, Article 5, Section 3, which states that in the beginning session of the General Conference session, one third of official delegates should be present.
LOWELL COOPER: Thank you, Pastor Ng, for the report on the official notices of the session and the registration report as of a few moments ago. I am pleased to state that based on this report, the 60th General Conference session is now open for business.
G. T. NG: It is customary for us to reread the Seventh-day Adventist Mission Statement. Our mission: The mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to call all people to become disciples of Jesus Christ, to proclaim the everlasting gospel embraced by the three angels’ messages in Revelation 14:6-12, and to prepare the world for Christ’s soon return. Our method: Guided by the Bible and the Holy Spirit, Seventh-day Adventists pursue this mission through Christlike living, communicating, discipling, teaching, healing, and serving. Our vision: In harmony with Bible revelation, Seventh-day Adventists see as the climax of God’s plan the restoration of all His creation to full harmony with His perfect will and righteousness.
LOWELL COOPER: Pastor Ng, we use the mission statement as a guide as we begin the business of this session. We trust that all our business will be conducted in light of our mission, and our vision.
Now, Pastor Ng, we turn back to you for the program.
G. T. NG: As previously announced by e-mail, the 2015 General Conference session program and agenda materials are now available electronically. This is in the interest of not killing more trees than necessary. And out of the 2,500 delegates, about 800 have requested hard copy, and those have been distributed to you. And the daily programs are found on page A of your agenda item.
So, Mr Chairman, I move that we adopt the daily program of the 2015 General Conference session.
LOWELL COOPER: The motion is to adopt the daily program as shown in the agenda.
Now, before we vote on approving the daily program, let me say that when we call the vote, we will do so and have a short delay, because the English instructions are translated into several languages, and we want to make sure that those who are relying on simultaneous translation will also receive the indication of when to vote. As we indicated, we will be using the voting card, and we will call for a vote on the motion to adopt the daily program.
[It was seconded and voted.]
G. T. NG: The next item is about approving the agendas. The agendas are found in the following pages. The yellow section has to do with the general agenda; the blue section has to do with the Constitution and Bylaws agenda; the pink section, nominations/elections agenda; and finally, the lilac section will be for the Church Manual agenda.
And there is one thing I would like to mention, Mr. Chairman, and that is that some information has been left out of the general agenda. Under item number 141(k), titled Theology of Ordination, the information of the voting time has been left out. And so I’d like to add that the voting will be done on July 8 at 4:30 p.m. So this is to be added to the agenda.
Mr. Chairman, I move to adopt the agendas as listed in the General Conference Session material.
[It was seconded and voted.]
LOWELL COOPER: Yes, Pastor Ng?
G. T. NG: Mr. Chairman, the next section has to do with several committees. The 2015 General Conference session standing committees are found in the agenda on pages 22 and 23. The first one is the Steering Committee, the second one is the Church Manual Committee, and third one is the Constitution and Bylaws Committee.
The membership of these committees come from the recommendations of the General Conference Committee. The Church Manual Committee and Constitution and Bylaws Committee, with representatives from each division, have been functioning throughout the quinquennium. These two committees will meet through the session as needed in connection with the discussion of agenda items. A separate process for the Nominating Committee will be implemented today in the business session at 4:30 p.m.
Mr. Chairman, I move that we approve the standing committees as stated for the 2015 General Conference session.
LOWELL COOPER: We’ll ask for a second to the motion.
The motion is to approve the appointment of the standing committees as listed in the agenda.
Now, obviously your agenda makes mention of the Nominating Committee. There is a separate process for that committee.
Those in favor of adopting the standing committee assignments, please raise the card.
Those opposed, by the same sign.
That appears to be unanimous.
G. T. NG: Mr. Chairman, the next item relates to the adoption of the rules of order. In order to conduct the business at this session in an orderly manner, I move that we adopt the General Conference rules of order.
LOWELL COOPER: Is there a second to the motion to adopt the rules of order?
[A second was made.]
So we will ask you to vote. Those in favor of adopting the rules——I’m sorry. I believe someone is at microphone number 6.
FINN ECKHOFF: I would like to comment on the rules of order. I’m impressed that you have managed to make them very clear, but I have one point I would like to comment on. In a discussion on various items, we generally use a majority vote, but when it comes to Constitution and Bylaws we ask for a two-thirds majority.
This time we will have a big discussion on Fundamental Beliefs. To my understanding, the Fundamental Beliefs are just as important as the bylaws. Therefore, I would like to move that we add to the rules of order a section telling that there is a requirement for a two-thirds majority when we vote on adding to or changing the Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
LOWELL COOPER: Before you leave the microphone, let me see if I’m restating the motion correctly. The motion is that we add to the rules of order a provision that requires a two-thirds majority vote on matters relating to the Fundamental Beliefs.
Have I captured that correctly?
FINN ECKHOFF: That’s correct.
LOWELL COOPER: Is there a second to that motion? Yes, the motion is seconded.
Let’s just take a moment to think this one through in terms of process.
[Parliamentarian discussed item with chair.]
Thank you for your patience with our delay here. The question that arises is in respect to the rules of order. The approval of the rules of order come under the authority of the General Conference Executive Committee.
The motion that is before us this morning is to use the rules of order here.
I would like to suggest that this particular item be referred to the Steering Committee, which meets every morning and will be meeting at least three times before we deal with the Fundamental Beliefs issue. And it may be appropriate, in the course of determining how we go about addressing this matter, that we would be able either to come back to this body with a report, or to proceed with an action. That would be the counsel that we have.
LARRY BOGGESS: I believe that because this is the world church and these Fundamental Beliefs are the world church’s, we have to have as many approve it as possible, so I would support the two-thirds.
LOWELL COOPER: I’d like to ask if the body would consent to a referral to the Steering Committee and that the Steering Committee bring this back to us with the report on how to proceed in terms of the authority of the General Conference Executive Committee in establishing the rules of order, or if we need to adopt a temporary rule of order for dealing with Fundamental Belief issues. If there is no objection to that, could I ask that you grant your consent?
KEVIN NWAIGWE: I want to add to the motion that has been raised, particularly as it concerns the Fundamental Beliefs of the church.
LOWELL COOPER: When we use the voting card on items that require a two-thirds majority, and it is not clearly evident that there is a two-thirds majority, we would need to have a counted voting process, so there will be a way of confirming a two-thirds majority.
BOB CUNDIFF: I’m just noting, on page 10 of our rules of order, the paragraph that says, “The rules of order may be changed by a two-thirds vote of General Conference Executive Committee.”
LOWELL COOPER: That’s the question that we were looking at and the reason that I was suggesting this go to Steering Committee. Because the appeal of the brother who made the motion was for a particular agenda item here at the session.
MARIO VELOSO: I would like to hear your ruling regarding this point of order.
LOWELL COOPER: On the point of order, we brought the motion into discussion. As soon as it was entered for discussion, we recognized that establishing the rules of order as a document is a responsibility of the General Conference Executive Committee. I suppose that doesn’t mean that the session at a particular vote could not require a particular majority. That’s the question that, in the chair’s view, would be helpful if we could defer to the Steering Committee to take a look at how best to process this, whether or not it becomes a part of the General Conference rules of order.
MARIO VELOSO: Are we now allowed to discuss the item with some meaning, or do we just discuss it for the sake of discussion?
LOWELL COOPER: What the chair would request is——there are two people who wish to speak——that these two individuals make their presentation to the Steering Committee, and the Steering Committee, in working through the process, will take that into counsel.
MARIO VELOSO: Thank you, Brother Chairman. That seems very fair.
LOWELL COOPER: Louis Torres, please.
LOUIS TORRES: Since you asked the floor to approve the rules of order, you are, by asking us, placing us as the final word on that. Therefore, I believe that to refer it to the committee and allow one person to speak or two people to address the Steering Committee, you are then shifting the authority to the Steering Committee.
In my understanding the floor has a final authority. And if I’m incorrect, please correct me. If we have the final authority, then I would recommend that the floor actually vote this now. Thank you.
LOWELL COOPER: The question that is before us is that the session adopt the rules of order for use at this session. The question about who creates the rules of order is a different question. That’s the matter that has come to our attention. And because the rules of order indicate that the General Conference Executive Committee is that authority to create the rules of order, we really shouldn’t entertain a motion here to change the rules of order.
I allowed the motion before recognizing that the authority is in the General Conference Executive Committee. But by referring it to the Steering Committee, we would want to take into account the essence of the appeal made by the brother who presented the motion.
So I would like to ask for the consent of the body to allow this to be referred to the Steering Committee for further consideration and the opportunity to hear those who wish to have a discussion about the issue that was raised.
If you would grant that consent, would you indicate so by raising the voting card?
I had better ask if there are those who are opposed to that consent.
Consent is granted.
That gets us back to the motion that is before us, which is to adopt the rules of order to use in our business session. This will not override the consideration that the Steering Committee may want to come back and give some consent.
We have a motion on the floor to use the document that has been provided to you for the session.
We’ll ask you to vote on the adopting the rules of order. Those in favor, please raise the card.
Those opposed, the same sign. That is carried.
G. T. NG: As a way of ensuring that proper protocol is followed, I move that Todd McFarland be approved as a parliamentarian for this general session.
LOWELL COOPER: We have a motion to appoint Todd McFarland, who works in the Office of General Counsel, as the parliamentarian for the session. Is that motion supported?
Those in favor of the motion, please indicate, up with the card.
Those opposed, by the same sign.
That appears to be unanimous. It’s a privilege to introduce Todd McFarland, who has already been sitting here by my side and providing some very valuable assistance. He will serve as the parliamentarian for the session. And with the privilege of introducing him, may I also introduce our recording secretary for this session, Tami Boward, who works in Secretariat at the General Conference, and she represents a large team of people who are very skilled at keeping track of the decisions we make and the minutes of the General Conference session.
G. T. NG: The next section relates to session delegate responsibility. We have counsel in the Church Manual regarding the duty of delegates in the conference session. Some of this language we may borrow and apply to the general conference session delegates as they perform their duties for the world church.
And I’d like to read what is in the Church Manual in this regard. “Delegates to a conference session are not chosen to represent merely the church or conference. They should view the work as a whole, remembering the responsibility for the welfare of the worldwide work of the church. It is not permissible for church or conference delegations to organize or attempt to direct their votes as a unit. Nor is it permissible for the delegates from a large church or the conference to claim preeminence in directing affairs in a conference session. Each delegate should be susceptible to the direction of the Holy Spirit and vote according to personal convictions. Any church or conference officer or leader attempting to control the votes of a group of delegates would be considered disqualified for holding office” [Church Manual, p. 110].
LOWELL COOPER: I believe that we are fully advised and fully intentional of performing at this level of responsibility. We ask you to lead us in the next item.
G. T. NG: There are a number of Seventh—day Adventist workers who have passed to rest since the last quinquennium. And at this moment we’d like to take a moment of silence to remember their work, to remember them having faithfully served in the church for many years. I’d like to invite all delegates and guests to please stand for a moment of silence, after which I will close with a short prayer.
[Moment of silence observed.]
Gracious Lord and Eternal Father, we want to thank you for these thousands of dedicated Seventh-day Adventist employees who have fallen asleep in Jesus. Thank you for the many years of dedicated service they have rendered to the church. And as the Bible says, even though they may be asleep in Jesus, their works follow them. May the legacy that they have left behind continue to inspire us who are living, who are active in our church services, and we will press on to finish the work that You have assigned for us. Console their family members, and may the hope of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the saints when Jesus comes again be encouragement to them and to us. Thank You for hearing and answering our prayers. In Jesus’ name, amen.
LOWELL COOPER: We will now move into another section of our agenda that deals with the formalizing of membership for newly created units during the past quinquennium. What we’re going to suggest in terms of the efficient use of time is that we will hear the recommendations, and at the end of the total set of recommendations deal with the matter in terms of one vote rather than some 29 or 30 separate votes. Can we so proceed?
DANIEL JACKSON: I have a question of clarification. I apologize for not standing earlier, but I would just like a clarification relative to the vote on the rules of order.
I wonder why the second motion was permitted when there was a motion on the floor and if that does not rule the second motion as being invalid.
LOWELL COOPER: The chair received that as a motion to amend the rules of order. And because the rules of order currently state that it is the Executive Committee that amends the rules of order, the chair felt that the Steering Committee should entertain the essence of the person’s concern without having to address the amendment of the rules of order here.
DANIEL JACKSON: My question is: Was the motion stated as an amendment or a motion? I’m just asking relative to the technicality of it.
Was that motion stated as “I would like to amend the motion” or “I would like to move”?
LOWELL COOPER: I believe that the motion was to add a section to the rules of order. And on that basis, I received it as a proposal to amend by addition.
LOUIS TORRES: If the second motion was an amendment that was seconded, it was never voted on. So normally speaking, when an amendment is made, it should be voted up or down.
LOWELL COOPER: We asked the body to grant consent to send the question to the Steering Committee and then to receive again the counsel of the Steering Committee as to how to handle both the essence of the request and the procedure to facilitate a decision on it. And the body granted the consent to refer it to the Steering Committee.
LOUIS TORRES: I recognize that. My point of order is: Isn’t it normal for us, if there’s a motion on the floor and it’s seconded, either for the person who made the motion to take back the motion, or for it to be voted up or down, and then to pass to the next motion to ask the floor to refer it to a committee? I’m just asking, because, in the future for other votes, are we going to follow the normal procedure, or are we going to make exceptions?
LOWELL COOPER: Thank you very much. We will try not to make exceptions. But there are times that the essence of a question that comes before us perhaps gives us an opportunity to look at different ways to address it. And we have not tried to divert the attention of the delegation from dealing with the essence of the question, but are seeking to understand what might be the best procedure to do so.
JERILYN BURTCH: It would seem that the creation of new unions would result in more administrators and fewer boots on the ground in ministry. So I’m just wondering: Are these unions self-supporting to fund that administration?
LOWELL COOPER: Thank you for a very fine question. The growth of organizational units in the denominational structure comes as a result of growth in membership and the entrance into new territories. There is a very, very thorough and complicated process that is undertaken before a new unit is approved. No unit can bring itself into organization.
And what we have before us this morning will be recommendations for units that have gone through this process of organization or authorization to function as conferences, etc. And we are receiving the end of that whole process by way of formalizing these units as members of the General Conference session.
Before we move into that section of the agenda, I would like to draw to your attention that, during the next few moments, you should be receiving financial statements of the General Conference. This is a document that we want to hand out today because it will be one of the items for discussion tomorrow morning, and we want the delegates to have this information in advance. If you are carrying the financial statement with you today and wish to speak to it when it is discussed tomorrow, we urge you to bring the document back with you, because there will not be a second distribution tomorrow morning. But we do want to make sure that you get the financial statement at least several hours in advance of its reaching the session agenda, so that if you have questions, you will be prepared to speak to them.
Thank you very much. We’ll ask our distribution team, whenever that material is ready, to do the distribution.
And we’ll turn to Dr. Ng to return to the approval of new membership units.
G. T. NG: During the past five years the church has grown rapidly. This has made it necessary for the church to reorganize and to realign itself. And today we’re going to vote 35 new unions into the sisterhood of our church. Some of the unions we updated from union mission status to union conference status. Some have been divided into two. So this morning we will begin with Africa, then we will move on to the Latin-American divisions, and follow with the European divisions.
So Rosa Banks, who is an associate secretary of the General Conference, as well as the liaison officer to Africa, will introduce the new unions in the three African divisions. She will be followed by Agustin Galicia, an associate secretary of the General Conference, and he will introduce the new unions in the Inter-American Division as well as the South American Division.
And finally, Elder Harald Wollan, General Conference associate secretary, will introduce a new European union, as well as the attached Middle East and North Africa Union. We would like to suggest that we will not applaud at the conclusion of the recognition of each union. We will applaud only once, after all 35 unions have been voted.
ROSA BANKS: Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to present to this body 22 unions that were reorganized within the three divisions of Africa during this quinquennium, with the recommendation that they be recognized, reported, and accepted as presented into the sisterhood of the world church. We begin with East-Central Africa Division. And I have asked Nathaniel Walemba, the executive secretary, to join me in the introduction of the presidents of the six new union conferences and union missions of his division.
NATHANIEL WALEMBA: The Burundi Union Mission with Jethron Nsabiyaremye as president.
ROSA BANKS: The North East Congo Union Mission, with Noah Kasereka Musema as president.
The East Kenya Union Mission, to be divided into two union conferences.
NATHANIEL WALEMBA: The East Kenya Union Conference, with Jonathan Maangi as president, and the West Kenya Union Conference, with Kenneth Maena as president.
ROSA BANKS: The Tanzania Union Mission, to be divided into one union mission and one union conference.
NATHANIEL WALEMBA: The Northern Tanzania Union Conference, with Godwin Lekundayo as president.
The Southern Tanzania Union Mission, with Magulilo Mwakalonge as president.
ROSA BANKS: Mr. Chairman, I so move this recommendation for the East-Central Africa Division.
LOWELL COOPER: Let’s proceed to the next.
ROSA BANKS: We now move to the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division. Solomon Maphosa, the executive secretary, will assist me.
SOLOMON MAPHOSA: The Botswana Union Conference, with Kenaope Kenaope as president.
The Indian Ocean Union Conference, with Jasmin Herinirina as president.
The Malawi Union Conference, with Frackson Kuyama as president.
ROSA BANKS: The Angola Union Mission, to be divided into two union missions.
SOLOMON MAPHOSA: The North-Eastern Angola Union Mission, with Passmore Hachalinga as president, and the South-Western Angola Union Mission, with Manuel Pacheco as president.
ROSA BANKS: I so move this recommendation.
LOWELL COOPER: We’ll move to the next division.
ROSA BANKS: The next recommendation involves the Zambia Union Conference, which has not yet been organized.
SOLOMON MAPHOSA: We have Harrington Akombwa representing the North Zambia Union Conference, which has not yet been organized.
ROSA BANKS: The recommendation is to recognize, record, and accept the reorganization of the Zambia Union Conference into two union conferences, subject to the organization meeting on September 20-23, 2015.
I so move.
LOWELL COOPER: Thank you.
ROSA BANKS: We conclude with the organization of the nine unions within the West-Central Africa Division. And I present to you Onaolapo Ajibade, the executive secretary. The unions in the West-Central Africa Division are, first of all, the Sahel Union Mission, to be divided into two union missions.
ONAOLAPO AJIBADE: The Eastern Sahel Union Mission, with Salomon Assienin as president. The Western Sahel Union Mission, with Guy Roger as president.
ROSA BANKS: The Central African Union Mission, to be divided into two missions.
ONAOLAPO AJIBADE: The Cameroon Union Mission, with Valere Assembe as president. The Central Africa Union Mission, with Joseph Randriamampionona as president.
ROSA BANKS: The Ghana Union Conference, to be divided into one union mission and one union conference.
ONAOLAPO AJIBADE: The Northern Ghana Union Mission, with Kwame Boakye-Kwanin as president. The Southern Ghana Union Conference, with Samuel Adama Larmie as president.
ROSA BANKS: Now the Eastern Nigeria Union Mission, to be a new union conference.
ONAOLAPO AJIBADE: The president of Eastern Nigeria Union Conference is Bassey Effiong Okon Udoh.
ROSA BANKS: Now the Northwestern Nigeria Union Mission, to be divided into two union conferences.
ONAOLAPO AJIBADE: The Northern Nigeria Union Conference, with Stephen Bindas as president, and the Western Nigeria Union Conference, with Oyeleke Owolabi as president.
ROSA BANKS: This ends the recommendations coming from Africa.
LOWELL COOPER: We proceed to the next division.
AGUSTIN GALICIA: I would like to present the names of the new units in South America and Inter-America, respectively. And after the presentation I will move that they will be accepted in the sisterhood of unions in the world church.
The first one is the South American Division, with Magdiel Perez Schulz as secretary. The East Brazil Union Mission, with Geovani Queiroz as president. I move that it will be accepted in the sisterhood of world churches.
The Inter-American Division, the largest division in the world, has the largest number of unions (24). Ten of them to be accepted in the sisterhood of the world church.
The Chiapas Mexican Union Conference, with Ignacio Navarro Perez as president.
The Dominican Union Conference, with Cesario Acevedo as president.
Next is a new, very new created union, the Dutch Caribbean Union Mission, with Shurman Kook as president.
And the El Salvador Union Mission, with Abel Pacheco as president.
The Honduras Union Mission, with Adán Ramos as president.
The Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Conference, with Moisés Reyna as president.
The Panama Union Mission, with José De Gracia as president.
The South Central American Union Mission, with Wilfredo Ruiz as president.
The South Colombian Union Conference, with Eliseo Bustamante as president.
CLINTON WAHLEN: I just have a question regarding the various effective dates for these organizational units and how that relates to the selection of delegates for the session.
LOWELL COOPER: Dr. Ng, would you care to respond to that?
G. T. NG: Many of these unions have been voted throughout the quinquennium. Some have been voted in Annual Council, and others have been voted in Spring Meeting. So as soon as they have been voted, they are, in fact, beginning to function as new unions, subject, of course, to the final vote in the General Conference session.
LOWELL COOPER: Thank you. We have Brother Nwankpa at microphone 1.
OYEBUCHI NWANKPA: We want to give thanks for what is happening in the reorganization system of the church, which, of course, is invaluable in the hands of the Lord to advance His cause.
When we talk about the leadership of the unions, the leadership of the church, the president of a union is not only an administrative leader, but also a spiritual leader. And as a spiritual leader of the church, the president has heavy responsibilities. I guess that one of the items on the agenda of this session has to handle the issue of ordination. And as a spiritual leader, a president of a union must be an ordained minister.
LOWELL COOPER: Brother, I’m sorry to interrupt. The motion before us on the floor relates to the acceptance of organizational units into membership of the General Conference.
The question that you are raising deals with another matter outside of this motion. So either I would invite you to speak to the motion, or perhaps we can find some other venue and opportunity to hear the concern you have over the question of leadership.
OYEBUCHI NWANKPA: Mr. Chairman, the reason for this concern is that the presidents are standing behind you. And we can see some women, and I wanted to find out why they are there.
LOWELL COOPER: Brother, I’m sorry, but the comments are not germane to the motion that is before us. So I will ask that we proceed with the consideration of the motion on the floor, which is to accept into membership the organizations that have been reported to us this morning.
[The motion was approved.]
I’m sorry to acknowledge——there’s a bit of delay in receiving a message here that Pacas Syliva is at a microphone.
PACAS SYLVIA [speaking Spanish with a translator]:We have benefited with this new union, and we feel very blessed by God for the leadership that we are allowing to have in our field. The Holy Spirit is the one who leads when new leadership is selected, and we should keep praying that this process will go through this way.
LOWELL COOPER: Thank you very much, sister, and for the one who provided the translation.
I believe, Pastor Ng, that that completes the formalities of organizational structure, and we will move into another section of our morning agenda and invite Elder Wilson to come to the microphone.
TED N. C. WILSON: Good morning, brothers and sisters. What a privilege it is to meet together in this 60th General Conference session.
At this session we have representation from our 13 world divisions, but we have only 12 division presidents, the reason being that Elder Alberto Gulfan of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division has been ill for many months. Many of you have prayed for Pastor Gulfan. To my right and to your left is Sister Helen Gulfan, the wife of Alberto. Alberto has been improving, and we thank God for that. And Helen wants to thank you for your prayers. We want to ask that you will continue to keep Pastor Gulfan in your prayers.
Pastor Gulfan is a wonderful soldier for the Lord. He loves evangelism. He loves the expansion of God’s church. And he would dearly love to be here, but he chose, himself, to remain at home in order to preserve his strength and to look to the future for God’s blessing on him and his family. He has chosen to retire at the end of this year and will not be standing for reelection. But at this time we want to honor Pastor and Mrs. Gulfan. Nancy will share some beautiful flowers with Helen, and I would like for you to show appreciation to Pastor Gulfan.
I would like you to bow your heads for a moment. I would like to ask God’s blessing on this precious couple.
Our loving Father in heaven, we come to You asking that You will continue to bless Pastor Gulfan with good health. Be with Helen also. And, Lord, we entrust this wonderful, dedicated Christian couple into Your hands. Bless the Southern Asia-Pacific Division in a marvelous way. And we thank You for the example that Alberto and Helen have given to each of us. Bless them in an unusual way. In Jesus’ name, we ask it. Amen.
Thank you very much, Helen.
I have one other special greeting to bring before we move to another special section, and that is that we have a number of representatives from the Chinese Union Mission, CHUM, as we refer to it. We have a number of delegates and special guests.
And the distinctive and very positive thing about our session here this time is that, in addition to the regular delegates from the Chinese Union Mission, which is in the Northern Asia-Pacific Division, we have with us at least 80 special guests who are sitting with their delegation from the country of China. And I would like to invite those who are delegates and special guests from the Chinese Union Mission. I would like you to stand where you are right now so that we can recognize you.
What a wonderful family we belong to. In another part of the world, in the Trans-European Division, in the country of Hungary, we have faced some unusual challenges and some difficulties, a need to reconcile, a need to bring people together. There has been a particular group that has been disconnected from the Seventh-day Adventist Church for some decades, at some distance. And at this time we are extremely grateful that we have found the Holy Spirit working in a very
powerful way. Some years ago I asked Pastor Ben Schoun, who is also with us here on the platform, to work closely with Pastor Bertil Wiklander, then the president of the division, and Pastor Raafat Kamal, who was a field secretary in charge of focusing on that particular situation.
Pastor Kamal has since become the president of the Trans-European Division. Pastor Kamal, please come and share with us this unique and wonderful reconciliation that is developing in the country of Hungary.
RAAFAT KAMAL: It’s quite exciting to celebrate with our Hungarian brothers and sisters the signing of a joint declaration concerning the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Christian Advent Community, also known as KERAK. This took place on April 23, 2015, when God blessed the process over the past years to heal and reconcile a division between family members for the past 40 years. It formally opened the door for many members from KERAK to join the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
At this point I’d like to introduce to you our Hungarian leaders, starting from the first person on my side here, János Cserbik. Next to him is Zoltan Modele, the second chairman. Next is Tamas Ocsai, the president of the Hungarian Union, followed by Robert Chismedia, the secretary of the union, and Renata Zolyomi, who is the union treasurer.
I just want to encourage you, if you see them, to embrace these brothers and sisters and pray with them. They have been on a journey, sometimes a difficult journey, where God gave them boldness to take big steps, for healing, for reconciliation of a broken family, a family of more than 6,000 members.
So it’s been a turning point in the life of the Adventist Church, where they put behind the pain and the challenges, and they’re moving forward to fulfill God’s mission together as one family.
It’s worth noting that in the KERAK constitution, it’s enshrined there that they’ve always wanted to come back to the mother church. There have been multiple attempts over the 40 years by three GC presidents, two GC vice presidents, four division presidents, and five union presidents to make this reconciliation happen. And we praise God. We’re grateful for the foundation that has already been laid through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Following a meeting with Elder Wilson in Paris in early June 2011, representatives of KERAK expressed an initial interest to be part of the recognized Seventh-day Adventist Church. A series of talks followed. Ben Schoun was appointed by Elder Wilson, and we had very fruitful meetings over the past four years.
So we praise God. We praise God for His healing power as He continues to bring these communities in Hungary together, where Christlike forgiveness, healing, and love continue to take over minds and hearts. Christ is coming soon, and He is uniting our Adventist believers in Hungary to be of one mind and focusing on the end-time mission to be resolved and loved. To God be the glory.
At this point, I’d like to ask our delegates and special guests from Hungary to stand up, to stand as Elder Wilson leads us in a word of prayer.
TED N. C. WILSON: I would like to ask all of us to stand for prayer. We are so grateful for the reconciling power of the Holy Spirit, and we praise God for what has been happening in the country of Hungary. Let us pray.
Our loving Father, we come to You in a very quiet and humble manner, asking that the beautiful reconciliation that You are nurturing and fostering in the precious country of Hungary will also be seen all over the world and in each one of our hearts this morning. As we look forward to this session, may the precious power of heaven enter into our actions, our speech, and our demeanor. And, Lord, we ask in a special way now that You will bless our brothers and sisters in Hungary as this reconciliation takes place and the proclamation of the three angels’ messages gains in intensity in that important country. Bless our members and bless our church workers in Hungary and all over the world. In Jesus’ name, we ask it. Amen.
Please be seated.
LOWELL COOPER: Brothers and sisters, before we proceed with the next agenda item, we are going to ask if you will join us in once again testing the electronic voting system. Some adjustments have been made. We are going to have a couple of practice questions here. And one of the things that we will do is extend the voting time to 60 seconds from 30. This will be one of the ways we can begin to sort out what may have been part of a problem.
So if you will get that device ready, we will once again return to the question: Is this the first time you have the opportunity of being a delegate at the General Conference session?
Don’t vote until we get the matter on the screen, and I will give you a signal when we can begin voting. Number 1 is yes. Number 2 is no.
Let’s wait a moment. All right. It’s on the screen. The countdown has begun. Please vote now.
We’re down to 31 seconds.
We’re down to 15 seconds.
Voting is closed. We’ll wait for the result.
Well, we’re better, but 828.
All right. We still have some work to do on this. There will be later testing. Thank you for helping us with another test. We think we understand some of the issues, but there’s more work to do.
We’ll turn back to Elder Wilson.
TED N. C. WILSON: Many people have been praying for this session. We’ve had the 100 days of prayer. And in addition to that, people have been focusing on what the Holy Spirit can do in our midst. We will be hearing reports; we will be seeing various presentations; we will be hearing various aspects of protocol and pageantry; we will be debating and discussing various things.
The most important thing that we must carry from this General Conference session on July 12, when people leave San Antonio, is that we are united in God’s mission of proclaiming the three angels’ messages and Christ’s soon coming. It is with that end in mind that I introduce to you Pastor Armando Miranda, the chair of our Revival and Reformation Committee, and Pastor Jerry Page, the secretary of that committee. That committee has been working diligently to help people all throughout this vast globe to find a closer relationship with Christ and to prepare for Jesus’ soon coming. Today we will make an appeal to you to, along with all of us, humble your hearts before the Lord.
Pastor Miranda, Pastor Page, lead us into this special section of our morning program.
ARMANDO MIRANDA: Our church was experiencing a troubled time in the late 1800s and onward. Leaders discussed in an open and heated manner about their disagreement, on the law in Galatians, righteousness by faith, and also the pantheistic views of John Harvey Kellogg. Our publications, Signs of the Times and Review and Herald, were in total opposition. In 1901 President G. A. Irwin was feeling as if his presidency had been less than successful. Later that year the Review and Herald burned to the ground, destroying the plates for Kellogg’s book. They were going to print despite the prophet’s warnings.
There had been repeated calls for the leadership to become humble so that God could work with them, but they were all ignored. It was a difficult time.
Thus, in that environment, on April 2, 1901, the General Conference celebrated its thirty-fourth session at the Dime Tabernacle in Battle Creek, Michigan. Months later, on January 5, 1903, Ellen G. White wrote to the Battle Creek church the following: “One day at noon I was writing of the work that might have been done at the last General Conference if the men in positions of trust had followed the will and way of God. Those who have had great light have not walked in the light. The meeting was closed, and the break was not made. Men did not humble themselves before the Lord as they should have done, and the Holy Spirit was not imparted. I had written thus far when I lost consciousness, and I seemed to be witnessing a scene in Battle Creek.” Then Ellen G. White was taken in a vision. And in that vision she witnessed a powerful manifestation of the Holy Spirit that brought humility, confession, repentance, and unity to the church as never before. They experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately, that was not a reality. It was a vision. Ellen G. White said later that if the leadership of the church and our brothers and sisters had accepted the admonition of God, the Holy Spirit would been poured out in a special way, as the latter rain.
So, my brothers and sisters, today, 114 years later, we are here at just in the opening of the 60th General Conference session. One hundred fourteen years, and we are still here on earth. We long for the day when we see Jesus coming to take us to heaven.
There is still work that needs to be done, and we need the presence of the Holy Spirit. We need the anointing of the Holy Spirit in a special way. And the Lord is ready to do that for us. Let me tell you, my brothers and sisters, that the General Conference has reenacted the vision in a video that we will show in a moment, with the purpose of reminding ourselves that the Lord is ready to send the Holy Spirit of the latter rain in order to prepare each one of us for the fulfillment of the mission and to be ready for God in heaven. So, my brothers and sisters, in a few moments we’re going to see a video, and let’s accept the message of the Lord to each one of us.
JERRY PAGE: The Lord said, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14).
You know that well. With millions of people, Seventh-day Adventists around this world, praying for this GC session, praying for you and for me, don’t you think God is going to do something great here? Do you believe that He can actually take us individually and as a group into an upper-room experience where we really love each other, where we have the mind of Christ, where we can reconcile any differences? We’re going to disagree, but to leave here loving people who may be to us the most unlovable, the ones we disagree with perhaps the most strongly. God can work that miracle—I believe that with all my heart.
We want to give you just a minute right now to pray silently, talk to your Lord Jesus about whatever you want to talk to Him about, but giving permission, in these next few minutes while watching this video or whatever happens during this session, that He can touch your heart and help us in answer to all of our prayers. What He needs is to hear from us right now. Let’s pray silently together during this moment.
O Lord, we need You to fill us with the mind of Jesus, with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And You are to do exceedingly abundantly over anything we could ever ask or dream or think according to Your power, which works in us, in the church You knew, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
[Playing of video.]
TED N. C. WILSON: My brother and sisters, it has been 114 years since the historic 1901 General Conference session, but we are still here. Unfortunately, we haven’t entered the Promised Land. We’ve been shown that we are like the children of Israel, who look to themselves and then turn back to the wilderness.
Joshua, that great leader, attended many unnecessary funerals over the next 40 years of desert wandering. His greatest desire was not to become a leader, but rather to seek the heart and the mind of his heavenly Father. God is seeking men and women today who, like Joshua, treasure above all else complete allegiance to God.
This General Conference session could potentially become our last if we act in accordance with God’s will. It’s time for the mighty rushing power of the wind of the Holy Spirit to shake this place and stir our hearts with humility and commitment. It’s time we press together as God has instructed us. It’s time to put away every contention, every difference, as did the disciples in the upper-room experience.
God revealed His will through His prophet Ellen G. White, and unfolded to her the vision of what might have been, what could have been, had the leaders of that day fully surrendered all of self to Jesus Christ.
By saying this, in no way do we claim to control God. He is omniscient and omnipotent. All is in His control. But He does not force Himself on people, because He created us with the power of choice and wishes all to be saved. Unfortunately—and I speak for myself and probably for all of us—our improper actions or our inaction can influence what God wants to do.
Second Peter 3, verse 9: He “is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (NKJV).
In verse 12 we’re told that we should be looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God. In the section called “The Reason for the Delay” in the book Evangelism, we read on pages 695 and 696, written in 1883, and I quote: “Had Adventists, after the great disappointment in 1844, held fast their faith and followed on unitedly in the opening providence of God, receiving the message of the third angel and in the power of the Holy Spirit proclaiming it to the world, they would have seen the salvation of God, the Lord would have wrought mightily with their efforts, the work would have been completed, and Christ would have come ere this to receive His people to their reward.”
Continuing on with the quote: “It was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be delayed.... For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.”
On page 450 of volume 6 of Testimonies for the Church, written in 1900, we read the following: “Had the purpose of God been carried out by His people in giving to the world the message of mercy, Christ would, ere this, have come to the earth, and the saints would have received their welcome into the city of God.”
As we humble ourselves in full commitment to Him, He will use us to accomplish His final mission to the world. We don’t know when the Lord will come, but everything points to His soon return. Let no one become discouraged or skeptical, joining in with the scoffers who say in 2 Peter 3:4, “Where is the promise of his coming?” (KJV).
As our General Conference session theme says, “Arise! Shine! Jesus is coming!” To those seated here today in this dome, to those viewing around the world, I humbly, personally submit myself to you and to our powerful God, asking that you do the same as we enter into a spirit of Christlike love and forgiveness through the Holy Spirit’s power.
Our greatest desire should be that we become one in Christ, one purpose, one mission, one goal. The final movements of destiny can begin this morning as we allow God to set our agenda. It’s imperative that we become all that He desires of us, delegates and members following His voice and advancing to the Promised Land in humility and in prayer.
Our marching orders are very clear: Take the gospel to the entire world, proclaiming the three angels’ messages, lifting up Christ and His righteousness; then Jesus will come. But only through the outpouring of the latter rain of the Holy Spirit will it become a reality.
Ellen White indicated in the Review and Herald on March 19, 1895: “The descent of the Holy Spirit upon the church is looked forward to as in the future; but it is the privilege of the church to have it now. Seek for it, pray for it, believe for it. We must have it, and Heaven is waiting to bestow it.”
For the past 100 days God’s people around the world have been praying for you, for me, for all of us, that our hearts will be changed, melted by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s not disappoint them or God or the angels who are here in our midst today. What might have been can be, through a humbling of ourselves before the Lord and each other.
Behind me you see the General Conference and division officers. During the time of the 2015 Spring Meeting of the General Conference Executive Committee, this group prayerfully voted a special appeal to all of us and to ourselves and those who participated in the vote, a special appeal to this session, an appeal that should be in your hands at the present time and will be shown on the screen as well. Let me read that special appeal.
“We, General Conference and division officers, appeal to all 2015 General Conference session delegates and attendees to accept each other as brothers and sisters in Christ regardless of some differences of opinion that may be evident on certain subjects. We ask for Christlikeness and humble respect for each other in our words and activities during this General Conference session and beyond. Our humble demeanor and attitudes, through God’s power, will speak volumes to those who are watching. We earnestly appeal that we do all in our power to strengthen the church——this precious Advent movement. We lean completely on Christ for the unifying spirit that we need in proclaiming the three angels’ messages in these last days of earth’s history.”
My fellow delegates and members everywhere, will you join us as General Conference and division officers in accepting this special appeal? If so, would you stand to your feet right now?
I’m asking you to seal this commitment in prayer groups——a group of two or three, not a large group. And during the next few minutes, pour your heart out to the Lord in commitment to Him. I earnestly ask that the Holy Spirit will be in our midst this morning, this afternoon, tonight, throughout the session, and as we look forward to the Lord’s soon return. We want to go home.
I ask that, as you kneel in prayer, where possible, you will pray together and remain on your knees until you hear the music start; that at that time we will sing that beautiful chorus “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” I ask you to remain kneeling until we sing together that beautiful chorus. We’re going to take time to pray. This is not just two or three minutes. We want to plead for the Holy Spirit. Please kneel together and find one or two other people to pray with.
Let’s sing together.
LOWELL COOPER: Thank you, brothers and sisters. We had expected that we would be able to adjourn by this time, but we’d like to ask for you to stay just a few extra moments as we care for a couple of other items. We want, once again, to test our voting system. I’m going to wait a moment or two for the General Conference and division officers to return to their delegation areas. When we dismiss, the next obligation for delegates will be to attend the division delegation meetings, which will not be held in this room. You will find on your delegate badge beneath your name a room location; I believe all except one or two will have room locations in the convention center.
The division delegations will meet starting at 2:00 this afternoon and work through the process of making recommendations for members from their division to be elected as members of the General Conference session Nominating Committee. So please look at your badge and find the meeting location that is indicated just beneath your name.
As we started the last agenda item that Elder Wilson introduced earlier on, there was a person standing at the microphone. We will record that name as someone who wishes to speak at a later time. We’re somewhat beyond our time limits for this session. And we thank you for your assistance.
Now, as we test the voting again, we’re going to do two things: number one, we will ask you a question and give a time countdown of 60 seconds. On the basis of what we learn from that result, we will come to you with a second question and reduce the time to 30 seconds. I suppose we need to be very honest with you that it seems that the issue has been the overwhelming power of the Alamodome’s Wi-Fi system. It is not the problem with the voting system. So let’s try it.
Take your voting devices. We’ll once again return to that question: Is this the first time for you to serve as a delegate to a General Conference session?
We’re ready for the countdown to begin.
You may vote now.
We’re at 30 seconds, 15, 10, five.
It’s my understanding that we’ll try again later. We won’t go with a second question. We’ll have opportunity to test it out again.
We’ll invite Brother Suresh Sidayia from the Southern Asian Division to have our benediction. I’m not sure if he is here.
Brother Suresh, are you here?
Yes. If you would step to a microphone. Let us stand. And after the benediction, we will be dismissed.
SURESH SIDAYIA: Shall we pray? Our gracious, loving Father in heaven, I want to thank You, Lord, for this beautiful morning.
Lord, bless the session that is being held here, the 60th General Conference session, all the divisions, the unions, the conferences, the units, the sections. Let the Holy Spirit call upon each of us for Your great leadership in the church. This is a church that You have chosen, that You promised to come back soon. O Lord, we want to praise You and honor You. And help us to arise and evangelize.
Lord, we want to thank You for every blessing. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help us to accomplish the task that is given to each of us, Lord. We praise and honor You. We ask You to bless each of us now and forevermore. Amen.
LOWELL C. COOPER, Chair
G. T. NG, Secretary
ROBERT KLOOSTERHUIS and CLAUDE SABOT, Proceedings Editors
60th General Conference Session July 2, 2015, 9:25 a.m.
The Mission Statement of the Seventh-day Adventist Church was read by G T Ng, secretary of the business session.
VOTED, To record the reading of the Mission Statement of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, To adopt the daily program of the 2015 General Conference Session, as found in the official program booklet.
VOTED, To adopt the agenda for the 2015 General Conference Session as it appears in the Session agenda notebook, with the understanding that there were a couple of additional items which were explained.
VOTED, To approve the 2015 General Conference Session Steering Committee, as follows:
Ted N C Wilson, Chair
Myron A Iseminger, Secretary
Members: Timothy H Aka, Delbert W Baker, Rosa T Banks, Guillermo E Biaggi, G Alexander Bryant, Sheri Clemmer, Lowell C Cooper, Karnik Doukmetzian, George O Egwakhe, G Thomas Evans, Mark A Finley, Agustin Galicia, Alberto C Gulfan Jr, Daniel R Jackson, Raafat A Kamal, Erton C Kohler, Gary D Krause, Nancy A Lamoreaux, Jairyong Lee, Israel J Leito, Robert E Lemon, Geoffrey G Mbwana, Armando Miranda, Pardon K Mwansa, G T Ng, Barry D Oliver, Daisy J F Orion, Orville D Parchment, Karen J Porter, Juan R PrestolPuesan, John Rathinaraj, Paul S Ratsara, Blasious M Ruguri, Michael L Ryan, Roy E Ryan, Benjamin D Schoun, Ella S Simmons, Artur A Stele, John H Thomas, Homer W Trecartin, Bruno R Vertallier, J Raymond Wahlen II, Gilbert Wari, Harald Wollan.
Invitees: Williams S Costa Jr, William M Knott.
VOTED, To approve standing committees for the 2015 General Conference Session, as follows:
Armando Miranda, Chair
Geoffrey G Mbwana, Vice-chair
Harald Wollan, Secretary
Tamara K Boward, Recording Secretary
Members: Onaolapo Ajibade, Audrey E Andersson, Adwoa S Asamoah-Addo, Bert B Beach, G Alexander Bryant, Carl P Chin, Gordon E Christo, Vara P Deepati, Walter Di Pardi, Karnik Doukmetzian, George O Egwakhe, William A Fagal, Carolyn Forrest, Agustin Galicia, Jannus O Hutapea, M Brian Kemoabe, Joshua K Kirui, Linda Mei Lin Koh, Vladimir Krupskyi, Young Ja Lee-Nam, Israel J Leito, Robert E Lemon, Solomon Maphosa, Alban Matohiti, Gabriel E Maurer, Derek J Morris, Pardon K Mwansa, G T Ng, Jerry N Page, Magdiel E Perez Schulz, Violeta Piturlea, Roman Prodanyuk, Leonardo D K Rahming, Angel M Rodriguez, Saw Samuel, Heather-Dawn K Small, Lionel H Smith, Artur A Stele, Akeri Suzuki, Nathaniel M Walemba, Ivan Leigh Warden, Ted N C Wilson, Zofia Wlodarczyk.
CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS
Ted N C Wilson, Chair
Geoffrey G Mbwana, Vice-chair
Myron A Iseminger, Secretary
Wendy Trim, Recording Secretary
Members: Onaolapo Ajibade, Audrey E Andersson, Niels-Erik A Andreasen, Delbert W Baker, Rodney G Brady, G Alexander Bryant, Brent B Burdick, Gordon E Christo, Chester V Clark III, Lowell C Cooper, Ruben De Abreu, Karnik Doukmetzian, Jonathan M Duffy, George O Egwakhe, Sergie B Ferrer, Agustin Galicia, Dale E Galusha, Stephen R Guptill, Jerome Habimana, Richard H Hart, Elie Henry, Jasmin Herinirina, Ignacio L Kalbermatter, Raafat A Kamal, Vladimir A Krupskyi, Robert E Lemon, Jairyong Lee, Dwayne O Leslie, Solomon Maphosa, Alemu H Maruta, Gabriel E Maurer, Todd R McFarland, Armando Miranda, G T Ng, Goodwell Nthani, Mario H Ochoa, Daisy J Orion, Julio A Palacio, Orville D Parchment, Ruth E Parish, Magdiel Perez Schulz, Michael L Ryan, Saw Samuel, Heather-Dawn K Small, Lionel H Smith, Akeri Suzuki, Nathaniel M Walemba, Gilbert Wari.
GENERAL CONFERENCE RULES OF ORDER
There was a concern relating to the General Conference Rules of Order regarding whether a majority vote or two-thirds majority vote should be required to approve items.
VOTED, 1. To allow the Steering Committee to determine the best way to address this concern.
2.To approve the General Conference Rules of Order to govern the business meetings of the 2015 General Conference Session.
VOTED, To record that Todd R McFarland, associate director of the General Conference Office of General Counsel, will serve as parliamentarian at the business meetings of the 2015 General Conference session.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record union mission status for the Burundi Association, effective October 17, 2012.
2.To accept the Burundi Union Mission (ECD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record union mission status for the North East Congo Attached Territory, effective December 31, 2013.
2.To accept the North East Congo Union Mission (ECD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former Kenya Union Mission into two union conferences known as the East Kenya Union Conference and the West Kenya Union Conference, effective December 31, 2013.
2.To accept the East Kenya Union Conference (ECD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
3.To accept the West Kenya Union Conference (ECD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former Tanzania Union Mission into a union conference and a union mission known as the Northern Tanzania Union Conference and the Southern Tanzania Union Mission, effective December 31, 2013.
2.To accept the Northern Tanzania Union Conference (ECD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
3.To accept the Southern Tanzania Union Mission (ECD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record union conference status for the Botswana Union Mission, effective October 16, 2013.
2.To accept the Botswana Union Conference (SID) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record union conference status for the Indian Ocean Union Mission, effective October 16, 2013.
2.To accept the Indian Ocean Union Conference (SID) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record union conference status for the Malawi Union Mission, effective June 1, 2015.
2.To accept the Malawi Union Conference (SID) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former Angola Union Mission into two union missions known as the North-Eastern Angola Union Mission and the South-Western Angola Union Mission, effective in 2010.
2.To accept the North-Eastern Angola Union Mission (SID) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
3.To accept the South-Western Angola Union Mission (SID) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former Zambia Union Conference into two union conferences known as the North Zambia Union Conference and the South Zambia Union Conference, effective September 23, 2015.
2.To accept the North Zambia Union Conference (SID) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
3.To accept the South Zambia Union Conference (SID) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former Sahel Union Mission into two union missions known as the Eastern Sahel Union Mission and the Western Sahel Union Mission, effective December 31, 2013.
2.To accept the Eastern Sahel Union Mission (WAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
3.To accept the Western Sahel Union Mission (WAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former Central African Union Mission into two union missions known as the and the Cameroon Union Mission and the Central African Union Mission, effective December 31, 2013.
2.To accept the Cameroon Union Mission (WAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
3.To accept the Central African Union Mission (WAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former Ghana Union Conference into a union conference and a union mission known as the Southern Ghana Union Conference and the Northern Ghana Union Mission, effective December 31, 2013.
2.To accept the Southern Ghana Union Conference (WAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
3.To accept the Northern Ghana Union Mission (WAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record union conference status for the Eastern Nigeria Union Mission, effective December 31, 2013.
2.To accept the Eastern Nigeria Union Conference (WAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former North-Western Nigeria Union Mission into two union conferences known as the Western Nigeria Union Conference and the Northern Nigeria Union Conference, effective December 31, 2013.
2.To accept the Western Nigeria Union Conference (WAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
3.To accept the Northern Nigeria Union Conference (WAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former Northeast Brazil Union Mission into two union missions known as the Northeast Brazil Union Mission and the East Brazil Union Mission, effective January 1, 2013.
2.To accept the East Brazil Union Mission (SAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former South Mexican Union Conference into a union conference and a union mission known as the Chiapas Mexican Union Conference and the Southeast Mexican Union Mission, effective August 12, 2012.
2.To accept the Chiapas Mexican Union Conference (IAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
3.To accept the Southeast Mexican Union Mission (IAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record union conference status for the Dominican Union Mission, effective September 16, 2012.
2.To accept the Dominican Union Conference (IAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record union mission status for the Dutch Caribbean Union Mission, effective June 1, 2015.
2.To accept the Dutch Caribbean Union Mission (IAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former Mid-Central American Union Mission into two union missions known as the Honduras Union Mission and the El Salvador Union Mission, effective January 1, 2012.
2.To accept the Honduras Union Mission (IAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
3.To accept the El Salvador Union Mission (IAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
INTER-OCEANIC MEXICAN UNION CONFERENCE—NEW UNION CONFERENCE
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record union conference status for the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Mission, effective September 19, 2011.
2.To accept the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Conference (IAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the reorganization of the former South Central American Union Conference into two union missions known as the Panama Union Mission and the South Central American Union Mission, effective January 1, 2015.
2.To accept the Panama Union Mission (IAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
3.To accept the South Central American Union Mission (IAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record union conference status for the South Colombian Union Mission, effective June 10, 2015.
2.To accept the South Colombian Union Conference (IAD) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record union of churches conference status for the Finland Union Conference, effective October 1, 2014.
2.To accept the Finland Union of Churches Conference (TED) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
VOTED, 1. To recognize and record the organization of the Middle East and North Africa Union Mission, effective October 9, 2011.
2.To accept the Middle East and North Africa Union Mission (GC) into the world sisterhood of unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Lowell C Cooper, Chair
G T Ng, Secretary
Myron A Iseminger, Actions Editor
Tamara K Boward, Recording Secretary